Thursday, July 14, 2005

Original Stars! Original Hits!

Egghead Jazz!

EmArcy was apparently Mercury Records' answer to Verve- a sort of subsidiary highbrow jazz label. This disc, Jazz of Two Decades (the two decades in question being the 1940s and 50s), seems to be one of a series of an anthology. The sleeve has no information about the music within, but rather a number of brief but dense essays about jazz styles written by
Leonard Feather. All the listening is Excellent- best scat singing by Sarah Vaughan we've ever heard, and this piece by trumpeter Clark Terry uses a simple rhythmic soundbed to showcase growling reeds and mewling brass:
Sarah Vaughan - Shulie A Bop
Clark Terry - Swahili

Soul Groove!

This late-60s disc showcases artists from Capitol's R&B stable. Bettye Swann (her surname mispelled "Swan" on this album), has unfortunately disappeared from the public eye- the most info we could find was here; discography and more audio samples here. King Curtis' take on Watermelon Man is a strong contender, despite what seems to be some serious technical malfunctions in the production of this recording (or did they mean for the organ to sound like it was being played somewhere down the hall?)
Bettye Swann - Willie & Laura Mae Jones
King Curtis - Watermelon Man

Not Available In Stores!

Ktel Records! Marketed through hilarious low-budget TV ads (see gobs of them here), these discs were lathed and pressed so as to squeeze the maximum amount of music onto the least amount of vinyl possible. Now they present a curious mix of classic musical touchstones (The Who's I Can See For Miles & The Box Tops' The Letter) with hilariously quaint pop ephemera (the audio examples below):
The Cufflinks - Tracy (earworm warning!)
Stairsteps - O-o-o-h Child


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